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Poll: Do You Like Mitchem's 90/10 Policy?

Under the 90/10 policy, emphasis is placed on the end result—test scores and mastery of content—and shifted off what James Mitchem calls “compliance” activities like homework and class participation.

It may not be what parents and teachers grew up with, but  Superintendent James Mitchem's new 90/10 grading policy, which puts more emphasis on tests and what students can prove they know than homework and class participation, is now in your child's classroom.

The Valley View school board approved the new policy Sept. 12. At its core, the policy will place less emphasis on formative assessments and compliance, like homework or class projects, and more on the end result—summative assessments, or passing tests and proving mastery of the subject. The plan, which will only be applied to grades 6-12, also allows for test “do-overs.”

Teachers or administrators will arrange for remedial assistance for students who don’t show mastery of a subject or adequate progress toward standards. 

The policy is not revolutionary.

The nation's second largest school district, the Los Angeles Unified School District, is in the process of considering a nearly identical policy.

Still, change is never met with 100 percent acceptance. 

So we ask you...

dabrooklongtime September 29, 2011 at 09:40 PM
Teachers don't get raises from elevated scores. This statement demonstrates what little knowledge you have about education, which in turn diminishes your credibility in all your statements made above The 90/10 grading system is one used in post secondary education for decades, focusing on the mastery of content versus the work that leads up to that mastery. It creates a system where teachers can no longer grade on Johnny's "effort" "attitude", etc. It focuses on what school SHOULD be about...which is education. If anything the system is harder on educators, because it forces you to work with student's until they master content and not make the excuse of failing a student because they choose not to do homework, or choose to blow off a test. It requires essentially "stalking" a student in order to be persistent in creating a culture where failure is not an option. What parent can argue with a district of educators unwilling to allow students to fail? Education is such a funny profession because just because we've all sat in a classroom we believe we know how education works, but I'll go out on a limb and assume we've all sat in a doctor's office at one point and time as well too and we sure don't go around diagnosing sick people now do we? Let the professionals do what they've spent 10's of 100's of thousands of dollars to become professionals on...educate our kids!
Lynn Harris October 09, 2011 at 04:18 AM
Unfortunately what no one has mentioned is how the policy is basically setting up the college bound students of Valley View up for failure. Or at least the college bound students that will depend upon the retake policy to get them through their four years of high school. Name me one reputable institution of higher learning that allows their students to retake a final examination because they didn't show mastery the first time or allows a student to redo a final term paper because they failed to show the intitiative needed to complete it properly the first time. Sounds good in theory but it is not helping our students prepare for their educational futures. In this day and age it's now more important than ever for people to get college educations and we're going to be sending kids to college that will spend the first semester or possibly their first year dealing with culture shock. There's a reason for why local colleges began complaining about students from Bolingbrook a few years back after this same 90/10 policy was introduced in the high schools. The same high schools that failed their PSAE tests last year. Makes you wonder. Want to change education and see test scores go up...teach parents how to be parents. Children are heading off to first and second grades in this district without knowing the alphabet...THE ALPHABET! These kids are already two years behind in their education because they don't have parents that read to them. Teachers aren't miracle workers.
Annie H. October 09, 2011 at 05:12 AM
Just wondering...have any of those who have made comments been to Dr. Mitchem's "New View" presentations? I've been to a couple of them. I still have concerns about the 90/10 policy but I'm willing to see what happens in a year or so. It's easy to judge and/or comment but we really need to have our facts before we start assuming we understand what's going on. I am concerned that we are over-emphasizing "college readiness" and looking past the fact that some students are simply not meant to go to college. And there is NOTHING wrong with that. What would this country be like if we didn't have people like my dad, with no college degree, yet he came from serving in the Armed Forces and moved into blue-collar work? He raised a family and did okay for himself and for us. He instilled the value of hard work and service to others. Both his children are college-educated, but he would have been just as proud of us if we were in blue-collar jobs like him, as long as we were supporting our families and serving others. I'm also concerned that we keep comparing ourselves to districts like New Trier. We are NOT New Trier and, frankly, I don't want to be. Are there things we need to change and improve in our district? Absolutely. BUT, there are great teachers and administrators who are trying to do what is best for our kids....that much I know and believe.
Lettuce October 09, 2011 at 09:41 PM
New Trier didn't make AYP (annual yearly progress) last year - either did 80% of Illinois Schools. When politicians create educational policy (like No Child Left Behind) this is what happens. Since NCLB measures student "success" solely in terms of national standardized tests, teachers and administrators have to do whatever they can to get those results. Schools that do not can lose funding and have their schools taken over by the state. This is why we are testing our kids to death - not because it's right, but because it is what the government is mandating. The flaws continue when you consider that schools are responsible for 100% of learning while the students and parents are responsible (in the government's eyes) for 0%.
Lettuce October 09, 2011 at 09:41 PM
Consider this: There is a significant group of juniors that simply do not care about the ACT or PSAE (the two tests that Illinois has selected to indicate student achievement). They don't take the test seriously, put forth little or no effort, and make designs on their bubble answer sheets. These crummy scores pull down the school's average and it looks like these children know nothing. The error is in dangling the ACT in front of them - the kids headed to college will care about their scores - the ones not attending couldn't care less. The ACT is designed for college bound kids, but not every kid is college bound - nor should they be. Auto mechanics, plumbers, environmental techs, artists, and those in the construction trades will make a reasonable living without attending a four-year college. So now the federal government is creating a system of exemption vouchers for NCLB. A vast majority of school districts in the US will be applying for them and receiving them, because the system is so flawed. Brick layers don't tell nurses how to do their jobs; teachers don't tell mechanics how to do their jobs; politicians should not tell educators how to do their jobs. The system is flawed. Like the 90/10 policy or not, it is direct response to the unreasonable demands of state and federal education laws.

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